From “Conan” to “The X-Files,” Alex Trebek’s seven best cameo roles

I'll take "a surprisingly versatile host" for $400, please! VIDEO

Topics: Video, alex trebek, conan, Conan O'Brien, the x-files, sesame street, Arthur, arthur chu,

From "Conan" to "The X-Files," Alex Trebek's seven best cameo roles

Last night, Alex Trebek appeared on “Conan” in a fairly baroque bit of one-upmanship. O’Brien’s long-running “Alex Trebek Has Gone Insane” series features mashed-up words from “Jeopardy!” to make the host seem a bit unhinged; Trebek presented a similar mashup of O’Brien’s recent monologues. The whole thing was in good fun, and made it clear that Trebek’s at home in pretty much every media setting.

We have a beef with Trebek, but it’s hard to deny how good he is as a cross-platform entertainer. He’s said to be retiring soon — could a talk show or cartoon be in the cards? (Probably not, but we can dream!)

“The Queen Latifah Show”

On the rapper and actress’s new talk show, Trebek hosted a hip-hop-themed edition of “Jeopardy!” between Latifah and Will Smith, featuring a category called “Diddy or Didn’t He.” Trebek said he “would have accepted Puff Diddy, Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs, Sean Combs, Sean John Combs, Diddy, Daddy, all of it” as one of Diddy’s stage names, though “Puff Diddy” is not actually acceptable. No matter!

“Saturday Night Live”

After years of lampooning Trebek on the “Celebrity Jeopardy” sketch, Will Ferrell got a taste of his own medicine in 2002, when Trebek himself appeared on the late-night standard. Trebek’s appearance was fairly toothless, but gave a sense, mainly, of how much time had passed: Ferrell was wearing the vintage mustache and double-breasted suit, while a clean-shaven Trebek looked much more modern.

“Arthur”

Before game-changing “Jeopardy!” champ Arthur Chu, there was Arthur of PBS — the kids’ cartoon character whom Trebek, playing dog-esque animal Alex Lebek, visited in 2000. “Lebek” was the host of a kiddie game-show in which our favorite aardvark (yes) competes.



“Sesame Street”

Trebek is clearly at home on kids’ television — as when he hosted a mini-game show in “Sesame Street”‘s post-Cookie Monster era in order to educate viewers about the value of healthy eating.

“The X-Files”

Hard to find on YouTube — though it’s on Netflix! — the episode “Jose Chung’s from Outer Space” features Trebek as one of two truth-tellers who are aware of aliens among us. The other? Future governor and future conspiracy theorist Jesse Ventura.

Daniel D'Addario is a staff reporter for Salon's entertainment section. Follow him on Twitter @DPD_

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